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Why Do Women Suffer From Migraines So Much More Than Men?

Posted Wednesday 24 October 2018 15:34 by in Migraines by Tim Deakin

Research shows that women are much more frequent victims of migraines than men. But why could this be?

Migraines are a well-established and common condition affecting men, women and children alike. One in seven adults experience migraines globally. However, the distribution of attacks is far from equal. In fact, figures from the Migraine Research Foundation suggest that as many as 85% of all migraine attacks are experienced by women.

Anyone who doesn’t experience migraines would be forgiven for assuming that they are simply intense headaches. However, the reality is much more serious. Alongside a throbbing headache, many sufferers experience nausea, vomiting, dizziness, visual disturbances, light, noise and scent sensitivity and, for some, even temporary muscle weakness on one side of the body. Migraines can last for hours at a time, or even days.

And that’s not all. Around one in four migraine sufferers also experience a collection of sensory disruptions called an ‘aura’, including blind spots, tingling, numbness and light flashes. Research from the American Journal of Medicine also found that migraine auras can increase the risk of ischemic stroke in women under 50.

However, the reason so many women experience migraines compared to men remains largely a mystery.

Director in the Office of Research on Women’s at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Janine Clayton, comments: “We don’t have the answer for why migraines are more common in women than men, but women are more susceptible to every pain condition than men.

“Also, women in pain are not always taken seriously. Women are perceived as excessively seeking help.”

Migraines tend to be worst for young women, and improve with age, meaning that many women experience regular severe migraines during the period of life when they should be most productive. Symptoms like light and sound sensitivity can make it difficult to work and complete daily activities.

Professor of Neurology & Anaesthesiology and Director of the Centre of Headache and Pain Medicine at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, Mark Green, is just one of many experts who believes that fluctuating female hormones could be a major influence on migraine attacks.

Green theorises that the drop in oestrogen levels which occurs during a women’s period could be a major trigger of migraines, commenting: “Around period and ovulation, and just after a delivery, levels drop precipitously, which can be a problem.

“After menopause, when the levels of oestrogen remain low and don’t fall, most women’s migraines] improve. Oestrogen falls increase the excitability of the brain cortex. Migraine is a condition where the cerebral cortex is more ‘excitable,’ often genetically, so that is one reason why.”

Theories like Green’s are supported by the fact that, in childhood, boys experience more migraines than girls before puberty. From puberty to the menopause, migraines are far more common in women. What’s more, most migraine attacks in women tend to occur several days before or after menstruation.

However, not everyone agrees. Michael Oshinsky, programme director of pain and migraine at the National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke, agrees that hormones may play a pivotal role in migraines, he states that “migraine is not a hormonal disorder. That’s a mistake. Think of it as a very diverse disorder. Each patient has to be diagnosed with her own criteria. There are likely many different pathways not working properly in the brain that lead to an attack. It’s a disorder of the nerves and the brain.”

While it may not be entirely clear why women are more susceptible to migraines than men, we do know that effective migraine relief medication is available from Express Pharmacy. Call 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet live chat service to speak to a member of our team today.

Comments

Miyoshi Miller on Friday 07 December 2018 18:48

I think it has a lot to do with hormonal changes we women go through. Monthly (when were younger) it has to do with our monthly menstruation. When we get older, its menopause. Then our pituitary, triggered monthly regarding ovulation. I really don't know for sure though, just think this might be some of the reasons.

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10 Common Risk Factors for Acid Reflux

Posted Thursday 18 October 2018 21:49 by in Acid Reflux by Tim Deakin

Many people assume that their acid reflux is unavoidable, but there are plenty of things which could be worsening your symptoms unnecessarily.

Acid reflux is a very common condition, affecting as many as one in five people. It occurs when the ring of muscle between the stomach and the oesophagus (known as the lower oesophageal sphincter) struggles to close completely. As a result, acid can leak up from the stomach into the throat, causing discomfort and even pain. Heartburn is one of the leading symptoms of the condition.

Anyone can suffer from acid reflux, and most of us probably will experience it at some point in our lives. However, there are several lifestyle habits and aspects that can significantly increase your chances of experiencing the condition, or make your existing symptoms even worse.

Understanding these risk factors is the first step to overcoming the condition entirely. With that in mind, here are 10 factors that can cause acid reflux.

Eating large meals

When eating large meals, your stomach stretches. This is what gives you that ‘stuffed’ feeling, but it also puts pressure on your lower oesophageal sphincter to keep everything down. Try to get into the habit of eating smaller meals more frequently.

Lying down after eating

Gravity has a part to play in acid reflux. Staying upright after eating gives your stomach the best chance of keeping all the acid down, so avoid lying down immediately after consuming a meal.

Being overweight or obese

Research has found that weight gain of 10 to 20 pounds can increase your risk of acid reflux threefold. The more weight you gain, the greater your risk becomes. Try to introduce healthier food options and a regular fitness regime into your routine, starting small and building it up over time. You can also find effective weight loss medication from Express Pharmacy.

Bending over at the waist after eating

Again, this has a lot to do with gravity. Try to avoid bending over when you still feel full, as this can literally squeeze stomach acid up into the throat.

Snacking before bed

Eating just before bed is particularly bad for acid reflux. Not only are you lying down, but you’re also increasing your risk of heartburn. Try to avoid eating three to four hours before bed, and when you do sleep, raise your chest and neck higher with pillows.

Indulging in certain foods

Certain foods are worse for acid reflux than others, particularly fatty foods and spicy foods. These create more stomach acid than others, making it more likely that some will leak upwards. Avoid citrus, chocolate, tomato, onions, cheese and garlic as much as possible.

Drinking certain beverages

Similarly, drinks like alcohol, carbonated drinks and coffee can all aggravate your acid reflux and cause heartburn, so avoid these where possible.

Smoking

There are countless reasons to stop smoking, but one of the them is that nicotine consumption can loosen your lower oesophageal sphincter, making heartburn and acid reflux more likely.

Pregnancy

Progesterone, the main hormone in pregnancy, slows your digestive system. This, along with the weight gain and stomach pressure associated with pregnancy, can all significantly increase your chances of experiencing acid reflux. This means that, if you are pregnant, it’s even more important to take precautions against the condition.

Taking certain painkillers and medications

Though we often rely on them as a quick-fix treatment, common painkillers like aspirin and ibuprofen can actually make acid reflux worse. This is also true of certain muscle relaxers and blood pressure tablets.

What can you do?

Thankfully, effective acid reflux relief medication is available. Omeprazole, Lansoprazole, Losec and many other options work by reducing the amount of acid your stomach produces, therefore reducing the risk of acid leaking into the oesophagus. Each of these options have had their effectiveness and reliability proven. What’s more, they are all available from Express Pharmacy.

For more information, don’t hesitate to contact our team on 0208 123 07 03. Alternatively, you can get in touch via our discreet Live Chat service.

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How to Master Stoptober

Posted Monday 01 October 2018 09:45 by in Smoking Cessation by Tim Deakin

For many people, October marks the start of a determined bid to quit smoking once and for all. Here’s how to succeed.

Smoking accounts for more than 8,000 deaths a year in England alone, so making the decision to quit is certainly the first step on the path to a healthier lifestyle. And now that October has rolled around again, more and more people will be making this decision thanks to Stoptober.

What is Stoptober?

Running throughout the month of October, the Stoptober campaign was first launched in 2012 by Public Health England, and millions of people have taken part every year since. The premise for the campaign is that, by abstaining from smoking for 28 days, individuals are five times more likely to quit smoking for good.

To date, Stoptober has driven over 1 million attempts to quit smoking, making it the biggest mass quit attempt in the country. So if you are trying to stop smoking, now is the perfect time to do it.

What support does it offer?

Stoptober offers a huge amount of materials and support which partakers can take advantage of, helping them feel as though they aren’t suffering the quitting process alone. The Stoptober app allows you to track your progress, see how much you are saving and get support.

Quitting smoking can be extremely difficult, but Stoptober offers a wide range of quitting tactics, including:

  • E-cigarettes: a great way to avoid the effects of inhaling tar. While research into E-cigarettes is still in its infancy, it is believed that vaping carries just a fraction of the health risks that cigarettes do.
  • Face to face support: free advice from experts. This allows you to stay on track with support and encouragement.
  • Social media: Stoptober has a strong social media community behind it, and their Facebook page gives you the opportunity to chat with others and share your progress or tips.
  • Daily support: A daily email throughout your journey will provide you with advice and tips for staying focused on your goal.

Why quit smoking?

The main reason to quit smoking is, of course, to improve your health. Smoking significantly increases your risk of heart attack, stroke and many fatal forms of cancer. (You can read more about the dangers of smoking here.) However, the good news is that no matter how long you’ve smoked for, quitting can help to improve your health immediately.

Quitting smoking improves not only your health, but the health of those around you. By reducing the amount of second-hand smoke your loved ones are inhaling, you will reduce their risk of developing asthma, meningitis and cancer.

You’ll also save money when you quit. If you currently smoke a packet a day costing roughly £10, taking part in Stoptober could save you as much as £300!

Can medication help?

Yes, it can. Champix is clinically proven to be the most effective prescription treatment for stopping smoking, and it has the highest success rates when compared to other medications. In fact, clinical studies have found that Champix users were twice as likely to give up smoking than those who used no medication.

NHS trials found that 45% of people had successfully quit smoking completely after using Champix for 12 weeks, compared to just 11% of people using a placebo effect. The benefits of Champix include:

  • Reduced feelings of anxiety, stress and irritability
  • Significant reduction in nicotine cravings
  • Reduced rates of insomnia
  • Fewer headaches
  • Gradual elimination of nicotine reliance

By using Champix alongside some of the methods outlined above by the Stoptober campaign, you can increase your chances of quitting smoking this October even further.

Champix is available from Express Pharmacy. If you have any further queries about stopping smoking, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team today. Call us on 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet online Live Chat service.

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What Causes Acid Reflux and How Can You Beat It?

Posted Friday 28 September 2018 15:59 by in Acid Reflux by Tim Deakin

Understanding the condition known as acid reflux is the first step to overcoming it

Gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) – more commonly referred to as acid reflux – is a digestive disorder which affects the ring of muscle between the oesophagus and the stomach, known as the lower oesophageal sphincter. Acid reflux refers to the process of acid passing up from the stomach into the oesophagus, causing discomfort, pain and an unpleasant taste.

Acid reflux is often confused with heartburn, which is actually one of many symptoms of acid reflux. Heartburn refers to a painful burning feeling just below the breastbone.

If you are living with acid reflux, we’re here to help. By understanding more about the condition, you will be in a better position to overcome it successfully. Here’s everything you need to know about acid reflux.

What are the symptoms of acid reflux?

As stated, heartburn is one of the leading symptoms of acid reflux. This burning sensation in the middle of the chest is a key sign that you are suffering from GERD. The other key symptom of acid reflux is an unpleasant sour taste in the mouth, caused by the acid which has travelled up from the stomach.

Other potential symptoms of acid reflux include:

  • Hoarseness in your voice
  • Bad breath
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Coughing or hiccups which keep coming back

Many people find that their symptoms are worse when lying down or bending over, or when they’ve just eaten.

What causes acid reflux?

Most people experience at least a small amount of acid reflux at some point in our lives, and there isn’t always an obvious cause behind it. However, for people who experience acid reflux on a chronic level, there are several key factors which can trigger the condition or worsen your symptoms. These include:

  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Certain foods and drinks, including alcohol, coffee, chocolate, fatty foods and spicy foods
  • Certain medications, such as anti-inflammatory painkillers like Ibuprofen
  • A hiatus hernia (a condition in which part of your stomach moves up to your chest)

What can you do to ease acid reflux?

When it comes to acid reflux, simple lifestyle changes can sometimes be enough to ease your symptoms or even get rid of the condition altogether. Below you’ll find some do’s and don’ts for dealing with the condition.

Do:

  • Raise one end of your bed by 10-20cm by putting something under your bed or mattress. By positioning your head and chest above your waist, you’re making it harder for stomach acid to travel upwards.
  • Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day rather than relying on larger meals.
  • Practice relaxation techniques if you suffer from stress, including meditation and yoga.
  • Try to lose weight if you are overweight.

Don’t:

  • Eat 3 to 4 hours before going to bed.
  • Smoke.
  • Drink large quantities of alcohol or drink regularly.
  • Wear clothes which fit tightly around the waist.
  • Consume food and drink that may be considered a GERD trigger.

If your symptoms persist or worsen, you should explore options such as effective anti-acid reflux medication. These treatments can help to ease your symptoms by decreasing the amount of acid your stomach produces. For the best results, swallow the medication whole and consume before eating.

Effective acid reflux medication such as Omeprazole and Lansoprazole are available from Express Pharmacy. If you require any further information about the condition, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Simply call 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet Live Chat service.

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Research Reveals That Lack of Exercise Puts One in Four People at Risk

Posted Monday 17 September 2018 10:29 by in Weight loss by Marina Abdalla

A new report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that more than a quarter of people globally are not getting enough physical exercise. This equates to around 1.4 billion people, a figure which has barely improved since 2001. What’s more, high income countries like the UK were among the least active.

The study, published in The Lancet Global Health, saw researchers look at data from 358 population-based surveys in 168 countries. They showed that in countries like the UK and the USA the number of inactive people has actually increased from 32% in 2001 to 37% in 2016. By contrast, low income countries’ results stayed stable at 16%.

Those classed as inactive engaged in less than 150 minutes of moderate exercise – or 75 minutes of intense exercise – per week.

Experts state that the reason wealthier countries are more prone to inactivity could be due to more sedentary jobs and hobbies, as well as car-centred travel. In lower income countries, people are more likely to have physical jobs and rely on walking for travel.

Women were also found to be less active than men in all of the world’s regions apart from East and South-East Asia. Researchers said this is likely to be due to a combination of factors, including extra childcare duties and cultural attitudes to women exercising. Co-author of the study, Dr Fiona Bull, commented on this aspect of the study’s results, saying:

“Addressing these inequalities in physical activity levels between men and women will be critical to achieving global activity targets and will require interventions to promote and improve women’s access to opportunities that are safe, affordable and culturally acceptable.”

Previously, WHO had been aiming for a global goal of reducing inactivity by 10% by 2025. In light of these figures however, they now say that this target will not be met.

Lead author of the study, Dr Regina Guthold, discussed the consequences of the findings in more detail, saying:

“Unlike other major global health risks, levels of insufficient physical activity are not falling worldwide, on average, and over a quarter of all adults are not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity for good health.”

Guthold continued: “Regions with increasing levels of insufficient physical activity are a major concern for public health and the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.”

How much exercise should you be getting?

The recommended amount of exercising you should be getting changes depending on what age group you fall into. Below you’ll find some recommendations based on data from Public Health England.

For children aged 5-18: 60 minutes of physical activity.

For adults aged 19-64: 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week.

For adults aged 65 and over: 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week, as well as strength exercises two days a week.

Activities that can count as moderate aerobic activity include fast walking, bike riding, hiking, water aerobics and sports such as basketball, volleyball and tennis. Vigorous activity may consist of running, swimming, gymnastics, martial arts or sports like football and rugby. Muscle strengthening exercises include weightlifting, push ups, sit ups, yoga and activities such as gardening.

Making time for physical activity is absolutely vital to our overall health. Inactivity increases your risk of a large number of health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even some cancers. These risks are increased further if you are overweight.

If weight loss could improve your health and fitness, you’ll find safe and effective weight loss medication right here at Express Pharmacy. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any queries. Just call 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet Live Chat service.

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